Economics news – import drive and the march of the makers ...
Import Drive ...
“Sales of European cars drive trade gap wider” is the headline in the Times today as Britons “flocked” to buy cars built on the continent. The trade figures released this week, reveal the September deficit (trade in goods) increased to £9.8 billion from £9.6 billion last month. The trade deficit with the EU reached a record £6.0 billion as imports increased by £0.4 billion to £18.6 billion. “Half of the increase is attributed to cars”, according to the ONS, hence the slightly unbalanced headline from the Times. In reality, Britons have been flocking to the showrooms since the start of the year. Car sales are up by 10% this year.
The deficit was offset as usual by a trade in services surplus of £6.5 billion. This is a familiar pattern which should come as no surprise to readers of The Saturday Economist. The trade deficit will deteriorate further especially if the UK continues to grow at a faster rate than major trading partners in the EU and USA.
We are forecasting an overall trade deficit this year of £110 billion offset by a service sector surplus of almost £80 billion. The residual overall deficit easily financed. The September figures are confirmation of the trends within our well established trade model. Depreciation damages UK trade in goods performance. Imports do not react significantly to price changes. There will be no rebalancing of the economy.
March of the makers picks up pace ...
Did the march of the makers pick up the pace in September? Not really. According to the latest figures from the ONS. Manufacturing output increased in the month by just 0.8%. Output for the quarter was flat as signaled in the Markit/CIPS PMI® survey data last week. Nevertheless we still expect manufacturing growth of almost 2.5% in the final quarter of the year. Last year was such a dismal quarter, even the stumbling marchers will make progress. Watch out for the headlines heralding the rebalancing over the next few months and tie me to a chair.
Other survey news ...
The service sector continues to drive growth in the economy according to the Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI® for October. The headline Business Activity Index reached a level of 62.5 in October. “The UK service sector maintained its recent run of strong growth during October, with activity expanding at the fastest pace since May 1997 as levels of incoming new business rose at a survey record rate”. The construction rally also continues according to the Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI® index. The sharp rebound in UK construction output continued in October. The lead index posted 59.4, up from 58.9 in September, above the 50.0 no-change threshold for the sixth consecutive month.
So what does this all mean?
The economy is recovering and growing at a much faster rate into the final quarter. The pick up in manufacturing output will add to the growth in services and construction. Higher growth, more jobs, lower borrowing, inflation falling, investment will pick up in the second half of next year, it’s all looking pretty good for the Chancellor. Just the trade figures will continue to disappoint. We now think base rates are now more likely to rise by around 50 basis points in 2015. Higher growth will result in unemployment hitting the 7% hurdle rate in the third quarter of 2015, several months after the election.
What happened to sterling?
The Euro rate cut weakened the hybrid and Sterling strengthened as a result. The pound closed at £1.6018 from £1.5912. Against the Euro, Sterling closed at €1.1982 from €1.1814. The dollar moved up against the yen closing at ¥99.1from ¥98.7 and closing at 1.3368 from 1.3484 against the Euro.
Oil Price Brent Crude closed at $105.12 from $105.91. The average price in November last year was almost $110. We expect Brent Crude to average $110 in the month, with no material inflationary impact.
Markets, pushed higher - The Dow closed at 15,762 up from 15,616. The FTSE closed at 6,708 from 6,721. The rally continues with a stronger Santa rally in prospect over the next five weeks.
UK Ten year gilt yields closed at 2.77 from 2.66 US Treasury yields closed at 2.75 from 2.62. Yields will test the 3% level over the coming months.
Gold closed at $1,284 from $1,312. The bulls may have it may just have to wait for now.
That’s all for this week, don’t miss The Sunday Times and Croissants out tomorrow and watch out for news of our Friday Financials Feature with Monthly Markets updates coming soon.
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The material is based upon information which we consider to be reliable but we do not represent that it is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. We accept no liability for errors, or omissions of opinion or fact. In particular, no reliance should be placed on the comments on trends in financial markets. The presentation should not be construed as the giving of investment advice.